What is Equivalency Assessment?
An Equivalency Assessment is the process that enables a person to apply to the New Zealand Society of Conveyancers (NZSoC) for an assessment to determine the extent to which the persons qualifications, training and experience is the equivalent of the specifications for the Diploma of Conveyancing.
If successful, then the applicant is eligible to register as a Conveyancer. The only other way in which a person can be registered as a Conveyancer is by successfully completing the Diploma of Conveyancing.
Why would I want to register as a Conveyancer?
If you are registered as a Conveyancer then you can apply for a Practicing Certificate. Practising Certificates are issued in accordance with the Lawyers & Conveyancers Act. If you are a registered Conveyancer with a Practising Certificate then you are known as a Conveyancing Practitioner.
Conveyancing Practitioners are entitled to sign and certify within Landonline. Having the ability to sign and certify is beneficial to your law firm or conveyancing firm. Furthermore should you wish to advance your career to the next level and establish your own business, then Conveyancing Practitioners may to apply to the NZSoC for authority to practice on their own account (subject to certain criteria).
Am I eligible to apply for Equivalency Assessment?
You are eligible to apply for Equivalency Assessment if;
- You have a NZ Legal Executive qualification or Law degree and;
- You have at least 5 years full time conveyancing experience attained within NZ.
What is the process?
You need to collate an Experience Portfolio for the NZSoC Registrations Authority to assess. Your Experience Portfolio is a series of redacted copies of documents and correspondence that you have provided to clients demonstrating your knowledge and experience. See our Experience Portfolio Guide (link below) for the prescribed samples that are required. The Registrations Authority is tasked with assessing that an applicant’s knowledge and experience is the equivalent to that of the Diploma of Conveyancing.
Be aware that the Diploma of Conveyancing’s curriculum covers matters such as reporting on the instruments that are registered on the record of title, pre-unconditional advice to a client as well as mortgage disclosure requirements.
Complete our application form (link below) and submit the application form with your experience portfolio by email to the NZSoC.
Our administrator will forward to you the $1,500.00 invoice for your payment, following which our Registrations Authority will commence with its assessment. Our target is to have all assessments completed within 3 weeks.
What happens if my Equivalency Assessment is successful?
We will issue you with an Equivalency Assessment Certificate, which then makes you eligible to be registered as a Conveyancer and apply for a Practising Certificate. Our administrator will be in contact with you to ensure that you have completed the relevant sections of our application form correctly and that you have supplied to us all the necessary supporting documentation, including the statutory declaration, certified copies of your ID, and proof of address, references and criminal records check.
Once all supporting documentation has been supplied and is satisfactory to the NZSoC, then we will send to you an invoice for the applicable fees, being the registration fee plus the annual Practising Certificate fee (if applicable). See our fees schedule for more details.
What happens if my Equivalency Assessment is not successful?
The $1,500.00 Equivalency Assessment fee is non-refundable. The Registrations Authority expects you to provide a high standard of information and advice to your clients throughout their conveyancing transaction with you. This is why applications are only accepted from those who have at least 5 years full time conveyancing experience.
If the Registrations Authority identifies any areas of your Experience Portfolio that has not been adequately demonstrated then you may be asked to submit further evidence.
If I have a Practising Certificate, can I still be registered as a Legal Executive?
Of course, whilst in the employ of a law firm your Legal Executive status does not change. The only restriction within the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act is that Lawyers with a Practising Certificate can not also hold a Practising Certificate as a Conveyancing Practitioner at the same time.
Eventually I might like to set up my own conveyancing firm, how do I do this?
The first step is to obtain your Practising Certificate. To be eligible to apply to Practice on your Own Account, then there are a number of other criteria that must be met before being granted with such authority. Please see our website’s qualifications page (link below) for further information.